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Tornado, Hurricane and High Impact Weather Education and Research

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Joshua Wurman
 
Doppler On Wheels (DOW) is an educational and research facility funded by the National Science Foundation. DOW demonstrates how cutting edge meteorological systems are provided to educational and research projects. DOW provides mobile Doppler weather radars that explore rare, short-lived, and small-scale phenomena, focusing on severe weather including hurricanes, tornadoes, and lake-effect snows. The DOW systems include two mobile X-band Doppler on Wheels and the 6–12 beam “Rapid Scan DOW.” The systems are provided as a national facility to increase community access to mobile radar systems. The DOW mobile multiple-Doppler network has the potential to play a critical role in obtaining spatially and temporally fine-scale three-dimensional single-Doppler and multiple-Doppler vector wind fields and reflectivity fields in support of a variety of the NSF community’s scientific studies. Through this program, K–12 students can get a very hands-on experience by going inside the DOW’s mission control cabin, and operating the computers controlling the radar. Along with the DOW scientists, students have starred in television shows such as Discovery’s “Storm Chasers” and in several documentaries on National Geographic, PBS, History Channel, BBC, and NHK.